In 2007, the Parent Café process was developed by parent leaders from Strengthening Families Illinois to design a parent-to-parent way to bring the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors to families.
The Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors are:
Resilience: Parent Resilience
Relationships: Positive Social Connections
Support: Concrete Support in Times of Need
Knowledge: Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development
Communication: Social and Emotional Competence
Parent Cafés are physically and emotionally safe spaces where parents and caregivers talk about the challenges and victories of raising a family. Through individual deep self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning, participants explore their strengths, learn about the Protective Factors, and create strategies from their own wisdom and experiences to help strengthen their families.
Cafés are structured discussions that use the principles of adult learning and family support. They are highly sustainable with training reinforcement, institutional support, and a commitment to an approach that engages and affirms parents as leaders. Participants leave Parent Cafés feeling inspired, energized, and excited to put into practice what they’ve learned.
To learn about our Parent Café evaluation efforts and how we know Cafés work, visit our Parent Café Evaluation page.
At Be Strong Families, we continue to take Parent Cafés to the next level. The Be Strong Families Parent Café model has touched thousands of families through Race to the Top Early Learning Grants, SAMHSA Project Launch Grants, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention initiatives, Child Welfare Systems, Family Resource and Support Centers, Early Childhood Development Centers, and other school- and community-based initiatives.
Parent Cafés (always bilingual in English and Spanish) have been adapted and translated into Chinese, Swahili, French, and Arabic.
Dads Cafés provide the foundation for Parent Cafés with fatherhood themes.
A More Perfect Union Parent Cafés allow parents to explore the broader context for parenting in a complicated and often unjust world.
Vitality Cafés provide a deeper dive into how parents can take care of themselves across six Vitality domains: physical, mental & emotional, spiritual, social, financial, and environmental.
Parent Café In A Box
To purchase Parent Café in a Box from our online shop, check out our RESOURCES→
Café Community of Practice
If you have been trained by BSF to host Cafés in your community, join our closed Café Community of Practice Facebook Group.